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5 arrested in undercover sting

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 2:58pm

An undercover sting targeting prostitution and child predators netted five arrests, authorities said Saturday.

Juanita Patrice Croft, 34, of Gran­iteville; Ciera Alexis Capell, 26, of Aiken; and Shatika Monique Nicholson, 27, of Forest Park, Ga.; are charged with disorderly conduct prostitution, according to a statement from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

Russell Donald Benjamin, 45, of North Augusta, and Sarawin Nath Intakanok, 36, of Lilburn, Ga., are charged with criminal attempt child molestation.

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Fort Gordon reports power outage

Sat, 04/05/2014 - 12:56pm

Fort Gordon sustained a postwide outage early Saturday shortly after an “explosion-like sound” near a building on base, according to the post’s Facebook page.

About 9 a.m., the post lost power after the explosion-like sound was heard near Nelson Hall, according to the Fort Gordon Facebook page. Post access was restricted to personnel entering on official business and guests of on-base residents.

Georgia Power responded to the scene and estimated all power will be restored by 3 p.m. The Youth Center at Fort Gordon will remain closed today due to the outage.

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Additional parking considered at Fort Gordon hospital

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 11:42pm


Proposals are under review at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center to add 10 handicapped parking spots, and between 150 and 200 regular spaces at the Fort Gordon hospital, a spokesman said this week.

Post employees, residents and patients say both additions are greatly needed as limited parking has led to more people competing for spaces at the hospital, including staff, who have been accused of taking handicapped spots and those closest to the medical center’s entrance.

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Young golfers to compete in Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:24pm


Henry Augenstein’s favorite Masters moment came a few years ago when his favorite golfer, Phil Mickelson, gave him a fist bump as he walked off the 18th green.

Perhaps the 15-year-old from Columbia will get a chance to give a famous golfer a fist bump of his own Sunday when he competes in the inaugural Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals at Augusta National Golf Club.

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Copper wiring was stolen from an Augusta business

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 10:13pm

A large amount of copper wiring was stolen from an Augusta business between Thursday night and Friday morning, according to a Richmond County incident report.

International Paper, located at 4278 Mike Padgett Hwy, had nearly 1,000 pounds of copper wiring stripped of its protective covering and taken from the back of the plant. The wiring is estimated to have a $6,000 value, according to the report.

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Richmond County debris removal deemed 100 percent complete

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 9:08pm

Fifty-three days after debris removal began, Traffic Engineer and interim Deputy Administrator Steve Cassell confirmed Friday evening that cleanup was complete in Richmond County.

“It’s hard to describe the level of relief,” Cassell said. “Our goal was to get all the debris off the streets by today and it feels unbelievable to have that accomplished. Since the ice storm, I know it’s been a stressful and frustrating time for a lot of people.”

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Professionals urge safety when using chain saws to cut storm-damaged trees, limbs

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 8:34pm

 Tree removal professionals are recommending taking additional precautions when removing storm-damaged trees after an Aiken man was killed by a tree he was attempting to cut down.

Thomas Shealy, 73, died last week after the tree fell on top of him, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said. He was discovered by his wife, who had come outside to help with yard work.

Wayne L. Craig, owner of Craig’s Tree Service, said having at least one additional person on hand could help ensure safety.

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Quorum of BOE members turns brainstorming event into illegal meeting

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 7:39pm


A meeting of elected officials held Thursday to discuss how to improve Augusta’s image broke the state’s open meetings law after a quorum of Board of Education members showed up without having invited the public.

Board of Education President Venus Cain said she organized the meeting so community leaders could brainstorm ways to move the city forward and combat the negative image often portrayed in the local media as the Army Cyber Command and other military units prepare to relocate to Augusta.

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Burke County dealer faces federal guns charges

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 6:44pm

A federally licensed firearms dealer in Burke County was indicted in federal court Thursday after authorities say he transferred firearms to convicted felons and illegally transferred handguns out of state.

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Health District Director on leave to July

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 6:28pm

The director of the East Central Health District is taking a long leave of absence, apparently to deal with a personal loss, a member of the Richmond County Board of Health said.

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Police seek suspect who used stolen credit card

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 6:12pm


The Richmond County Sheriff’s Office is looking for a suspect who attempted to use a stolen credit card at an area gas station last month.

About 4:42 a.m. on March 30, a white man entered the Kangaroo Express gas station at 3477 Wrightsboro Road, where he twice attempted to use a stolen credit card, according to a statement from the sheriff’s office.

The suspect was last seen wearing dark jeans, a dark shirt, a dark coat and a baseball cap.

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Police discover meth lab at area motel

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 5:42pm


Police charged two people with manufacturing methamphetamine after deputies found drugs and paraphernalia in their motel room Friday.

Jackie Ray Beasley Jr., 43, and Heather Studer, 24, have been charged with felony counts of manufacturing methamphetamine, trafficking methamphetamine and possession of cocaine, according to a statement from the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office.

About 7:30 a.m., deputies were called to the Economy Inn at 3061 Deans Bridge Road, where they found what appeared to be narcotics paraphernalia.

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Restaurants ready for big business from Masters

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 5:15pm


Area restaurants once again expect to see green from the annual influx of golf patrons in town for the Mas­ters.

At Wild Wing Cafe, sales for April typically double because of Masters-related foot traffic that week, said owner and operator Tricie Scholer.

“That tells you what one week can do to a month,” she said. “Hands down, every day next week is the best day of the year.”

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Farmers do not get individual aid for cleanup

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 5:00pm

As a farmer, Williams Hughes has grown accustomed to being on his own, but when February’s ice storm hit 68 acres of property he owns in Burke County, he thought the federal government would help cover some of the debris-removal costs.

He was wrong.

Because the multimillion-dollar, major-disaster declarations approved in 60 Georgia and South Carolina counties last month only include public assistance – not individual assistance – the Federal Emergency Management Agency will not help farmers clear their land of ice-storm debris, said spokeswoman Cheria Brown.

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Masters 'specials' keep cops busy

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 4:47pm

An abundance of special duty assignments during Masters Week can mean extra spending money and a change in atmosphere for local deputies.

“Specials” are jobs where deputies dress in uniform, but their time is not being paid for by the sheriff’s office. These jobs range from providing additional security at the mall to restaurants and bars and even weddings and baby showers.

During Masters Week, the number of opportunities increases, particularly from businesses on Washington Road.

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Ga. woman gets teddy bear with heroin inside

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 2:17pm

ATHENS, Ga. -- Police said a woman received an unexpected shipment Thursday -- heroin hidden inside a teddy bear.

The Vineyard Drive resident called police because she received a package from Mexico she wasn’t expecting, police said, and the Hispanic woman didn’t know anyone who lived in the location in Mexico from where the package originated.

The woman opened the package and found it contained an old, smelly teddy bear, according to police.

Suspecting that there might be something dangerous inside, the woman called 911.

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Hospital provider fee unsettled

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 1:35pm

ATLANTA -- Last year, a bill that would renew a financing mechanism for the state’s Medicaid program hurtled irresistibly through the Georgia General Assembly. Gov. Nathan Deal signed it into law almost as soon as it was passed.

The high priority the measure received was easy to understand. The funding mechanism, known as the hospital provider fee — called by opponents a “bed tax” — was designed to fill a nearly $500 million hole in the state’s Medicaid program’s budget.

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Adults charged after child wanders

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 1:05pm


A mother and great-grandmother are facing charges after police said they allowed a 5-year-old to wander to an elementary school to play with children.

A Richmond County sheriff’s deputy was called to Copeland Elementary School, 1440 Jackson Road, after the child, who is not a pupil, was seen playing on the playground with others about 12:30 p.m. Thursday. The child had also been seen on the grounds on Tuesday and had been returned to his home at Fox Den Apartments, according to an incident report.

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Morning stabbing under investigation

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:55pm

Police are investigating a morning stabbing at Champion Pines apartment complex off Wylds Road.

Deputies were called to Doctors Hospital about 9:30 a.m. after the victim, who has not been named, arrived with a stab wound to the upper chest.

The victim told police he was walking to his vehicle this morning when an unknown black male approached and took his keys and several other items before stabbing him.

No further details have been released.


Deputies commended for fire rescue

Fri, 04/04/2014 - 12:53pm

Two Aiken County sheriff’s deputies are being commended for pulling two people out of a burning home Friday morning on Piper Road.

According to a news release, Deputies Kenneth Lively and Nicholas Lott arrived at the home at 2380 Piper Road about 4 a.m. before the firefighters and heard people inside coughing and calling a cat. The deputies entered the home and found John McKenzie III, 43, and Laura McKenzie, 39.

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